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A picture is worth a thousand words. What about an hour’s wait?

Over the weekend I was uploading photos from my phone and noticed I have over 5,000 in my library. Some quick math tells me I took an average of 4.6 photos a day over the last 3 years (!), which got me thinking about how the camera phone has irreversibly changed photography.

Taking 24 photos used to be a challenging task. Each photo would cost money to develop and, even more importantly, would occupy a coveted spot in my photo album.  Now I easily take 24 photos in a single day – and I’m not the only one.  The number of images we all take has increased greatly thanks to the ubiquitous cell phone and social media.  It’s so easy (and free, did I mention free) that we seem to constantly snap away, capturing and posting everything and anything – from our breakfast, to the shoes we’re wearing, to that not-so-exciting tree over there.

So my question is this: is all this snapping a good thing?  Or maybe, just maybe, is there a bit too much instant gratification – and a few too many questionable images – to go around?

Despite what my memory card may indicate, I think it’s important to think through an image before taking it. So I couldn’t have been more intrigued than when I read about the new 1-Hour Photo app by Nevercenter Photo. The app forces you to wait a full hour after snapping a photo to see it. For added fun, it even converts all photos to black and white.  And my favorite part of all? The app disables the front-facing camera so you can’t take selfies with it (oh, the horror)!I’m all about it, as I think there’s value in waiting an hour for your photo (come on, it’s not that long), and truth be told I’m not a big selfie fan.  I like that the app restores some of the experience of film photography, yet still provides the benefits of digital.  You can delete the image if you like, but after waiting excitedly for an hour, you probably won’t want to. So you’d better make it count.

In the advertising world we still “make it count,” and photography is still an art.  Time, thought, and creativity are given to each shot, and the results are stunning.  So why shouldn’t we all do the same?  Sure, camera phones make things fast, easy, and sharable, but what about meaningful? Shouldn’t we be less focused on capturing every moment and more focused on capturing the special ones?

You’d totally wait an hour to see a snapshot with your four best friends, but would you wait an hour to see a photo of your half-eaten hamburger? I’m going to hope the answer is a “no.”

Photo credit: Nevercenter Photos Official Instagram Feed

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